A lot of financial decisions need to be made during a divorce. Being able to discuss the important issues with your soon-to-be-ex is vital if you want to avoid going to court. Families who hope to continue to homeschool have the added burden of considering how homeschooling will financially affect both parents.
Here are a few topics to consider before entering into negotiations:
Use and Possession of the Home
When a couple owns a home together, the house is usually considered joint property. This holds true even if only one spouse has been paying the mortgage over the years. The value of the home depends upon any remaining mortgage balances and the home’s current worth. Generally in a divorce, one of two things happen with the family home. In the first scenario, one spouse buys out the other spouse in order to keep the home. In the second scenario, both parties move and the house is put up for sale. Proceeds from the sale pay off joint debt or are split between the divorcing couple.
When children are involved, one parent may negotiate for Use and Possession of the family home – or the opportunity to put off selling the house for 3, 5, 7, or more years. A request for Use and Possession generally argues for the children’s best interest in staying in the family home for emotional or educational reasons.
Extraordinary Educational Expenses
Family courts recognize that different children have different learning needs. Extraordinary Educational Expenses is a catch-all category that allows parents to assume their fair share of the financial burden involved in meeting their child’s learning needs. Homeschooling can be recognized as an Extraordinary Educational Expense by the court.
When child support is determined, parents are also assigned a percentage of financial responsibility that is proportionate to their share of joint income. This percentage is applied to Extraordinary Educational Expenses to determine how much each parent must pay. For example, both parents agree to send a child to private school, which costs $20,000 per year. Dad has a court ordered child support financial responsibility of 75%. Dad would then pay $15,000 a year for private school tuition and mom would be required to pay $5,000. Certain homeschool expenses can be handled in the same manner.
Extraordinary Medical Expenses
Extraordinary Medical Expenses are handled the same as Extraordinary Educational Expenses. Check with your state, but an expense usually must be at least $100 per bill in order to qualify for joint responsibility.
Courts no longer grant automatic alimony in a divorce. Most often, a spouse must be able to demonstrate why they need their former spouse to continue to provide monthly financial support. Rehabilitative alimony can be negotiated for a mom who has stayed at home to raise and/or homeschool kids. The money is generally considered an opportunity for mom to go back to school or gain some type of training so she can eventually re-enter the workforce.
Depending upon how long you have been married, how old your children are, and the length of time you’ve homeschooled, you may be able to negotiate for Lost Wages.
Homeschooling is an educational option, but it is also a selfless act of love by the parent who places their professional aspirations on hold for their children. The longer a parent is out of the workforce, the less earning potential they will have in the long run. When your divorce becomes final, you have a whole new set of worries about your personal financial future and how you’ll manage when you get to retirement age.
Few women are able to negotiate for Lost Wages due to homeschooling, but it can be accomplished.
Hiring an expert witness to assist your attorney in better understanding the nature of homeschooling can help your case build a stronger defense for why continuing to homeschool is in your children’s best interest. Contact Maryland Hand In Hand Homeschool to discuss how we can be of assistance to you.
Last modified on October 10, 2019